Posted December 16, 2008 12:33 am by with 21 comments

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by Rene LeMerle

It’s started—Google’s working overtime to ensure that their billions in advertising revenue continue irrespective of global economic conditions. Their strategy: place sponsored listings everywhere.

Last month reports came out that Google was adding sponsored listings to its finance site with plans to include advertising on Google News in the not too distant future.

Well now Google are testing the placement of AdWords ads in its recently launched Search Suggest, which appeared in August this year after years of testing in Google Labs. Google Suggest is “a search feature that provides real-time suggestions while you search.”

Danny Sullivan has collected screen shots of the various Search Suggest Sponsored Listing incarnations that Google are testing which include Title and Link only ads, conventional ads, ads at the top, ads at the bottom and variations in between.

According to his post, Google are also trialling links to websites, links to news articles and access to answers direct from the suggestions area also.

It’ll be interesting to hear the feedback on the ad trial. I wonder whether search engine purists will see the ad placement as going too far. Especially when the sponsored listings appear above the suggested searches (see sample above).

From a marketer’s point of view, it’s definitely prime ad real estate and will surely command some serious bidding wars.

What do you think? Has Google gone too far by placing sponsored listings in search suggest? Or do you welcome the advertising opportunity?

Rene LeMerle is the VP of Marketing at, a leading provider of results driven Search Engine Marketing services.

  • I think sponsored listing will cost very much, since mostly people will directly click the sponsored site. Poor for other ads advertiser who not in the list, their site have more litle chance to get clicked by searcher.

  • It’s not so bad – if times were good and everyone over at Google still enjoyed huge stock prices, I’d say this is a little shady, but, times are tough and I encourage all businesses to try and “stay afloat” however they can.

    It is great placement – I would just think it would end up being a disappointment most of the time (for the user and bidder)

  • Adi

    You can certainly understand their reasoning for doing it but perhaps they should remember why people used Google rather than Yahoo! in the first place, and that was the simplicity of the interface and the superb, impartial results. If they compromise those by chasing the dollar it may open the door for a competitor.

    Adi’s last blog post..Are you Mahayana or Hinayana?

  • Saurav

    No matter Google is doing this to fulfill its ultimate motive, dominate the search market (my personal opinion) and pocket as much cash as they can; it after all is a public listed company.

    A day will come when paid search advertising will be everywhere (the money involved is a strong motive) and Google foresees it as a money minting machine. I am sure it will come out of trial quicker than Google Chrome took to come out of Beta!

  • That day will come but nowadays it is not everywhere though it is everywhere. Not that bad as it helps in marketing and selling field.

  • I have seen some reviews that those ads sometimes are not targeted so good. I am not sure how will those ads impact results for advertisers.

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  • It can’t be long before Google activates it’s clause in the Maps T&C to show ads against Maps then.

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  • The march of Google continues. I can completely understand why they are doing. After all they are a business first and foremost, and have to make money. However, depending on how far they go, I can see people becoming annoyed with the constant ads every where. A similar thing happened with my web mail account when it started showing ads. I now use Greasemonkey and a script to block the ads from showing.

  • Man, they are really trying to make money in every aspect of their site. I don’t really like the idea of the suggested searches having sponsored listings as there is limited space already.

    Patrick’s last blog post..EPA Launches Environmental Fugitive Site

  • So basically they are saying right off the bat PPC is more relevant than organic. Terrible. What happened to letting the users pick. What happen to the great Google algo that gave us such good results? Why is the average Joe being force feed PPC?

    Jaan Kanellis’s last blog post..2008 Year-End Google Zeitgeist Released, Sarah Palin Rules

  • I wonder if Advertisers can opt out of the suggest tool placement? As someone else pointed out, I think many of the searchers would be frustrated with where they end up and convesions would be low. After all, it is the Google Suggest tool, and by placing the ad at the top, Google is saying this is probably the best place for you to go.

    People might just end up telling Google they think there is a better place for Google to go.

    cd :O)

  • they’re squeezing more & more pennies out of what’s at their disposal…..will continue….

  • I think that Google has to look out for itself and this strategy is the right one for themselves.

    Nicole Price’s last blog post..Festive Gifts (Part II)

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  • Ultimately, Google needs to make sure that all of its content stays meaningful, including ads. Staying true to this philosophy will likely allow them to present more ads without noticeably diluting the pool. Will be interesting to see.

    Lee Zukor’s last blog post..By: Forrester’s Customer Experience Ranking Released Simple, Good, and Tasty

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  • Very useful to search.

  • Thats pretty lame, we don’t need more ads in our user experience and thats distracting. A over monetization if you ask me.

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  • Wii

    Google is doing everything it can to stay on top of the game and things like this just add to the user experience